Strabismus (Crossed Eyes) and Amblyopia (Lazy Eyes)

Approximately 2% of American children have amblyopia and 3-5% have strabismus.

Strabismus (Crossed Eyes) and Amblyopia (Lazy Eyes) in Manhattan

Amblyopia and strabismus are at times connected, but they are not the same condition.

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What is strabismus?

Strabismus is the medical term for crossed eyes which occurs when the eyes are not aligned. One or both of the eyes could be turned inwards, outwards, upwards or downwards and both eyes are not focused on the same target. It is common for this to occur when a person is very farsighted or has poor eye muscle control. The wandering eye may be a constant phenomenon or it manifests when the person is tired, ill or has done a lot of viewing up close such as reading. If left untreated, strabismus could get worse.

Risk Factors:

  • Family history
  • Refractive error - if someone is very farsighted and has not received the proper prescription for an optical correction, such as glasses
  • Various health conditions such as down syndrome, cerebral palsy or after a stroke or head injury

What are some signs of strabismus?

  • Wandering eyes
  • Eyes do not move in sync
  • Tilted head
  • Poor depth perception
  • Frequent blinking or squinting
  • Double vision

It is important to keep in mind that while strabismus may be noticeable in large angle strabismus, it could also easily be missed if it's intermittent, alternating or a small angle strabismus.

 

How is strabismus treated?

There are different treatment options, depending on the cause and diagnosis. Sometimes one or more methods are used for the same patient: 

  • Glasses or contact lenses - at times this is the only necessary treatment
  • Prisms - special types of lenses which bend the light in a unique way
  • Vision therapy - various exercises can be used to train the eyes to focus and coordinate properly with each other and with the brain

Often these methods of treatment will suffice, but there are cases where eye muscle surgery will be recommended. It is advisable to first try the non-invasive treatment techniques above before deciding if to operate.

What is amblyopia?

What is amblyopia?

Lazy eye, known medically as amblyopia, is the main cause of loss of vision in children in one eye. Amblyopia is a condition that occurs when the eyes are not working together properly as a team along with the brain. Each eye receives its own image which is not coordinated with the other. So in order to cope, the brain shuts off communication with one eye, nicknamed the ‘lazy eye’ by suppressing it. Clear vision is achieved by the other, stronger eye as the lazy eye cannot achieve 20/20 vision, even with an optical correction. 

Risk Factors

Some children are more prone to developing a lazy eye. The risk factors include:

  • Family history
  • Premature birth or an infant who is born with a low weight
  • Developmental delay
What is amblyopia?

How is amblyopia treated?

Scientific studies have proven that eye patching alone is no longer the recommended method of treating a lazy eye.

The following methods of treatment are generally offered, sometimes just one method will suffice, while other cases require a combination of various treatment methods:

  • Glasses or contact lenses - sometimes this is the only method required
  • Vision therapy - various exercises are used to train the eyes to work properly together and to communicate with the brain; studies show that treating with vision therapy could reduce the need for patching the stronger eye
  • Closing one eye - it’s now been proven that patching the stronger eye for a shorter amount of time while the patient is performing cognitive activities using the lazy eye yields similar results than if the eye is occluded for long periods of time
Dr. Wernick cartoon

Summary

Amblyopia and strabismus are at times connected, but they are not the same condition.

Testimonials


  • At Amplify with Dr Wernick I was seeking help for seemingly intractable, probably age-related dryness. I've seen other doctors about it, and that has been helpful, but what he explained to me about it and the careful way he answered all my questions gave me so much more of a clear understanding of what is going on (and is not) that I am more able to implement all his and others' recommendations than I was before. And he gave me additional resources for further follow-up. I am most grateful.


    Cynthia Norton

  • Wow! This is a great Eye Care medical facility. I was thoroughly examined by Dr. Pinkhasov for over 2 hours. She made sure to check my eyes for pretty much everything and patiently explained proper care for my eyes. They definitely know how to provide great care and treat their patients right. Now I know why they have such a great reputation and been around for so long.


    Steve Fay

  • Dr. Kavner is a gifted diagnostician and orthoptic therapist. He treated me several decades ago for a condition similar to dyslexia. I was having migraines five times per week. I worked with him for about a year and I experienced tremendous improvement (down to 3-4 per year) that has lasted.


    Mary K.

  • Dr. Kavner recommended two types of eye therapy for my daughter. One of them using bio-feedback. In just three sessions she is seeing considerably better. She shouted this morning: Ooh my God! I could not see these letters with my glasses on, and now I can see them without my glasses. If you are willing and able to invest in improving your vision, this is a good place to go to!


    Peter G.

  • Dr. Kavner recommended two types of eye therapy for my daughter. One of them using bio-feedback. In just three sessions she is seeing considerably better. She shouted this morning: Ooh my God! I could not see these letters with my glasses on, and now I can see them without my glasses. If you are willing and able to invest in improving your vision, this is a good place to go to!


    Kinkie F.

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